The New York Times named Philadelphia one of its 52 places to visit in 2015. The City of Brotherly Love garnered the No. 3 spot thanks to recently finished outdoor urban projects, new family-friendly attractions and fun 2015 events, making this U.S. city one of the best for families to travel to this year.
So as you plan your East Coast family trip, here’s some advice — give yourself plenty time to play and sightsee. There’s a lot of new to see and do in Philly this year, and below are some of those attractions and events you’ll want on your itinerary.
Indego is Philadelphia’s bike share program. The program launched in April and has been drawing in cyclists of all ages since opening. More than 600 bikes are available for rent at more than 60 stations throughout the city. Simply go up to a station kiosk, buy your trip, pick out your bike, ride around the city and then return the bike. There’s no easier or more fun way to get out and see what all this beautiful city offers.
2. Nightscape at Longwood Gardens
From July 1-October 31, the place to spend your Philly nights is at Longwood Gardens. Local Philadelphia artists Klip Collective is putting on an extraordinary show, Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience. Amazing imagery and colorful lights choreographed to original music mesmerize your eyes and take you on an evening journey with the help of the city’s landscape as its natural backdrop. Make it an even family-friendlier night by attending on July 15th or August 19th, which are Family Nights complete with enjoyable kid activities and visits with staff through other parts of Longwood Gardens.
3. Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Alice in Wonderland
Don’t be late to celebrate one of the most beloved literary classics of our time. This fall marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s book, and The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia is paying tribute with exhibitions and programs exploring this children’s tale starting October 14th. Take your family down the rabbit hole as you discover things about the Alice in Wonderland characters and stories behind the story you never knew.
4. Ride Hersheypark’s Newest Roller Coaster
New to Philadelphia’s family-friendly amusement park this year is Laff Trakk. Hersheypark’s newest coaster, which gives the park a total of 13 now, is the first indoor, glowing and spiraling roller coaster in the U.S. Assembled inside a house of laughs, you and your family will spin and fly past a house of cards, a hall of mirrors and vibrant characters, all within the fun but safe speeds of 40 mph.
5. See the World’s Largest Display of LEGO Art
The Franklin Institute continually provides family-friendly fun with events and exhibits, but this year it’s bringing your favorite childhood toy to life with its The Art of Brick exhibit. Contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya assembled more than 100 creations from more than 1 million LEGO bricks depicting human emotion, interpretations of famous works of art and even a Liberty Bell — an exclusive creation just for the Philadelphia gallery. This colorful exhibit, a top 10 must see according to CNN, runs through September 7, so don’t miss your chance to enjoy seeing the building blocks you enjoyed as a child and your kids currently still enjoy displayed as life-sized animals, people, art pieces and more.
6. Test the Lanes and Food at South Bow
With two floors, 26 lanes, video games and an oversized kitchen, who wouldn’t want to spend a family afternoon or night here? Open every day of the week, with Happy Hour Bowling on Monday-Friday from 4-6 p.m., South Bowl is a real Philly crowd pleaser. The numerous lanes, great prices and fun atmosphere are all known, while the hidden gem of South Bowl is its menu. Your normal bowling alley foods, like wings and burgers, make the cut, but this kitchen gives you even tastier options. So if you get a craving for Korean fried chicken, lamb sliders, fried calamari or wood oven pizza, your cravings can instantly be satisfied. This bowling alley sends the entire family home happy.
With everything that’s happening in 2015, there are more than enough reasons for first-time visitors to grab a Philadelphia hotel room and for return visitors to jump at the chance to come back again.